[This post originally appeared on my old WordPress blog. I am deleting that old blog so I have reprinted it here, today.]
David Blunket ‘…when under pressure, he could be almost impossible to work with. But it was not until he was tested with his only prison riot that I concluded that he was not up to the job.’ Whether or not it is true is not my concern here, rather it touches son something that I have been pondering a while now. I suppose my thoughts can be best summed up as ‘are our politicians really up to the job?’
You don’t expect me to answer ‘Yes’, do you?
I suppose it was a thought that first struck me during Margaret Thatcher’s stint in the top job. I can remember how I used to cringe whenever she, or those I regarded as similar to her: Lamont, Parkinson, Baker et al, came on the telly in speeches, interviews or whathaveyou. The sheer dull, poor, intellectual limitedness and narrow, unimaginative blandness of them all was almost painful to me, especially in those situations where they were supposedly ‘representing Britain‘ abroad. But, then, at the time America had Regan, so I suppose we were lucky in that respect. If anything, I regard Tony and his pals as just as bad, if not worse.
The problem is that for anyone with more intelligence, or sense, than ego politics is not the sort of thing they want to involve themselves with. Certainly not, at least, the Westminster soap opera. The number of blogs – including this one – that concern themselves either wholly, or in part, with politics does suggest, however, that there is a great deal of interest out there in politics. But when – apparently – the top political website is one concerned with the gossip from that very Westminster soap opera we have to wonder about the depth of that interest.
Personally, I find politics fascinating (yes, I am a sad bastard), but party politics doesn’t hold my interest because I am now non-partisan, and now all the parties are heaping on top of each other in the centre ground, each trying to out-bland each. I don’t like the politics of personality because I find what personality the politicians allow themselves to display odious, and not a little creepy. Of course, the biggest problem with politics at the moment is the way that the politicians have taken the politics out of politics leaving us with just the party political gamesmanship and the ‘what Groovy Davey said about Gordon to Tony while Cherie was at the hairdressers’ soap opera.
So, the real action moves further and further away from the cosy little club at the Houses of Parliament. Maybe there is a shift going on, maybe the drop in voting figures that suggest disenchantment with traditional politics is part of a trend. Maybe something new could emerge from the new technologies like blogs, growing up from the grass roots up.
Whatever it is the folks in parliament had better hope that it is something that still has some sort of respect for people and democracy like the fantasy Mrs Pritchard TV series, rather than the growing scourge of religious fundamentalism that could send us all back to some very Dark Ages indeed.